A two-day colloquium took place at the School of Advanced Research in Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris on February 21-22, 2019, during which a group of researchers in history, literary studies, sociology and other fields of science, made an unacceptable attempt to transfer German responsibility for the Holocaust of Polish Jews to Polish citizens (Gentiles), victims of the same Holocaust. Such an attempt meets the criteria of the working definition of HOLOCAUST DENIAL AND DISTORTION adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. (1)
Not only the content of the lectures, but also the organization itself and the course of the conference aroused very serious objections of from many participants. Experts representing opinions different from the ones prevalent at the conference were not invited. The speakers frequently provoked an outrage in the audience by spreading false and illogical theories and sometimes using absurd arguments which were repeatedly perceived as deliberately insulting. However, many participants at the conference were denied the right to ask questions during the discussions. Then, the gagged people were accused of a lack of culture and even of anti-Semitism due to their reactions of suppressed indignation caused by violation of the accepted standards for scientific debates.
Despite the permission of Professor Jean-Charles Szurek to record the conference, one of the organizers, a lecturer at EHESS, Judith Lyon-Caen used the protests of the suppressed as a pretext to prohibit further recording of the conference.
On 24 and 25 February, the organizers and some speakers published a vague, critical statement about the conference, lashing out at some of the participants. One of the allegations, albeit inelegant, seemed justified: the Polish conference participants certainly did not match the French language skills of some speakers and organizers.
Therefore, before we make any further decisions in response to threats of taking legal steps against the critics of the conference, we request the conference organizers to provide an unedited and complete access to video recordings from the entire conference. After professionally verifying the content of these recordings, we will then publicly comment about subsequent possible administrative, civil or criminal law proceedings, in accordance with the results of the analysis of the materials.
Currently, we must unequivocally state that a group of researchers calling themselves “New Polish School of the Holocaust” is neither Polish – because the general scientific/academic standards of debate were not observed, nor is it a school because of the censorship and gagging instead of encouraging criticism and proper debate.
We demand that dissenting voices of Polish scientists and other experts with an impeccable track record in the field of the Holocaust in German-occupied Poland will be listened to, and not sowers of hatred, racism and anti-Polish lies.
We demand an immediate termination of financing of the so-called “New Polish School of the Holocaust” by Polish taxpayers.
We announce that:
- every Pole who is mentioned by name and surname, who cannot defend himself against false accusations, or because the accusations were only made after his death, or because as a victim of the Holocaust and five decades of Soviet communist slavery they have no independent financial means of defense, and
- every Polish organization subjected to similar defamations
will receive support through the emerging international foundation which, with the consent of the Trade Union “Solidarity”, we would like to call the Polish Foundation of Solidarity with the Victims of Hitler’s Germany and Soviet Russia.
At the same time, we encourage everyone to voluntarily contribution each year for such solidarity with the Polish victims of pseudo-scientific wickedness. This solidarity means today as much as the 10-million members of Solidarity did who changed the world nearly 40 years ago.
(1) Attempts to blur the responsibility for the establishment of concentration and death camps devised and operated by Nazi Germany by putting blame on other nations or ethnic groups.